Friday, February 10, 2012

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: By the King's Design by Christine Trent

Synopsis: Strong-willed Annabelle Stirling is more than capable of running the family draper shop after the untimely death of her parents. Under her father's tutelage, she became a talented cloth merchant, while her brother Wesley, the true heir, was busy philandering about Yorkshire. Knowing she must change with the times to survive, Belle installs new machinery that finishes twice the fabric in half the time it takes by hand. But not everyone is so enthusiastic. 

Soon, riled up by Belle's competitors, the outmoded workers seek violent revenge. Her shop destroyed, Belle travels to London to seek redress from Parliament. While there, the Prince Regent, future King George IV, commissions her to provide fabrics for his Royal Pavilion. As Belle's renown spreads, she meets handsome cabinetmaker Putnam Boyce, but worries that marriage will mean sacrificing her now flourishing shop. And after Wesley plots to kidnap the newly-crowned King--whose indiscretions are surfacing--she finds herself entangled in a duplicitous world of shifting allegiances. 

My thoughts:  I read across all time periods in historical fiction but I think the Regency period in England's history is probably one of the ones I've read the least about.  I am glad that I got to remedy that with this delightful novel which begins as Luddites (those opposed to the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution) are menacing the English countryside and attacking merchants who are buying the new equipment that is replacing their jobs.  Annabelle Sterling and her brother Wesley are victims of one such attack and when the spirited Annabelle realizes that those she trusted may have been behind it she goes to London to protest the law turning a blind eye to these miscreants and also to start her business anew.  Unfortunately, Annabelle catches the eye of the Prince Regent- a man who is more interested in sporting the latest fashions than governing the country and while her association with the Prince Regent brings her a remarkable change in fortunes, she manages to glide right into the path of danger at every turn often with more than a little help from her brother Wesley.

What I love about Christine Trent's books are that she manages to combine a little known trade (this time cloth making) with a spunky heroine against a backdrop of rich historical detail for the period she writes about.  I also like that her books have a lightness about them-managing to capture the nuances of the period and letting the drama the protagonist finds herself in unfold while still being a lot of fun to read.

While reading I did want to reach through the pages and shake some sense into Annabelle as her stubbornness and refusal to listen to anyone led her into yet another sticky situation. Our heroine experiences quite a lot of tragedy and misfortune throughout the book as well but even though she was a trouble magnet I admired her spirit. Bonus points for the several pages long author's note at the back giving a run down of the period and what was based in fact or fictionalized.  I love when authors include this!

I sped right through this and then went to Barnes & Noble and grabbed A Royal Likeness which is the author's other book I hadn't read yet. Check this out if you like the Regency period or if like me, you want to read more about it but aren't quite sure where to start. 


Up for grabs is a copy of By the King's Design for one lucky reader!

This giveaway is open to: International

To enter: Leave your name and email address in the comments.  One extra entry each will be given for helping spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, or posting on your blog.

Giveaway is open until: midnight on February 19th.  Winner will be announced on the 20th.

For more reviews and giveaways of By the King's Design and guest posts/interviews with author Christine Trent be sure to visit Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours to see the rest of the tour schedule.

Visit author Christine Trent at


  1. This is the first I've heard of this book and it sure sounds good! Would love to be entered, thanks so much for the opportunity.


  2. Would love to win this one!!


  3. Retweeted (LoriHedgpeth) and shared on Facebook (Psychotic State Book Reviews).

    Thanks again!


  4. Would love to read this one.

    Tmrtini at gmail dot com

  5. This one sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!
    candc320 at gmail dot com

  6. I enjoy HF novels in which the main character is a "commoner" - this sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Historical Fiction has become my end all to be all as far as reading goes and this is a time period I know almost nothing about. It would fit perfectly in my King Arthur to Queen Elizabeth challenge!

  8. I would love to read this, thank you.
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

    ps - I read The Taker last year and really liked it

    1. I would love to read this! Thank you for the giveaway!

      I've shared on facebook

      tweeted on twitter


  9. Hello, Christine. I am an aspiring writer who loves and wants to write Historical Fiction. Would you please give me some writing advice? Thanks. I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilled I am about your books! They appeal to me immensely! I hope I am the lucky one who wins a copy of DESIGN. Have a wonderful weekend, all.

    I now follow this blog!

    Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

  10. Hi, looks like a great book. Thanks for offering it.

    readingwithmargaret at gmail dotcom

  11. I am very interested in reading this book!

    slkenn79 at gmail dot com

  12. Thanks for the review and giveaway! I'd love to get to read more about the Luddite uprisings.

    susanna DOT pyatt AT student DOT rcsnc DOT org

  13. Thanks for an awesome giveaway. katers2714 at

  14. I love reading Historical Fiction and Historical Romance novels. By The Kings Design sounds like one I woull enjoy!


    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  15. I'd love to read this so please enter me.

    niteofblu at gmail dot com

  16. This one sounds interesting! Would love to win a copy :)


  17. This sounds like a great book!


  18. I always find I need to read more from the Regency period in my historical reading. The storyline for this one sounds interesting, as as well the heroine, Annabelle.


  19. Thanks for the giveaway! :)



  20. Thanks for the great post and the chance to win.
    I can't wait to read it.
    musicalfrog at
    Patti P

  21. Sounds like a good read so please enter me in the giveaway.

    Appreciate you opening it to worldwide entries.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  22. Love Christine Trent. Thanks for the giveaway.

    nanze55 at hotmail dot com

  23. Oh, my, I've just discovered your blog and I love all the books I see on the side, they are so beautiful. Historial, fantasy... just my themes ;-)
    I'll be doing some promotion of your giveaway on twitter and facebook. My name is Belinda, my nickname is Babel and my email is Tdbabel(at)gmail dot come.
    Many thanks to you.

  24. this book sounds so good! thank you for the contest!
    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  25. i tweeted here!/in_the_hammock/status/170701911949967360

    thank you!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  26. Thank you for the chance to win this book.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  27. I'd love to have a chance to read this book!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it